With matchups against powerhouses like Columbus Watterson, Walsh Jesuit, Cardinal Mooney and Akron Hoban, St. Vincent-St. Mary will rely on senior leadership in the form of coveted recruits like Doran Grant and Mark Murphy. The Irish will also look to cut down on turnovers.
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (6-5)
2009 Record: 6-5
* Players to watch – DB Doran Grant (5-11, 175, Sr.), RB/SS Mark Murphy (6-2, 195, Sr.), QB Oliver Hildebrandt (6-5, 220, Sr.), QB Kevin Besser (6-3, 190, Jr.), T/DT Nick Codrea (6-3, 270, Sr.), OL Carlos Lugo (6-2, 285, Sr.), OL Mitch Wassam (6-1, 275, Sr.), OL Mike Greissing (5-11, 210, Sr.), DL D.J. Williams (6-4, 270, Sr.), DL Freeland Oliverio (6-0, 240, Sr.)
* Outlook – One could argue that St. Vincent-St. Mary has the toughest D-III schedule in the state. Contests against Youngstown Mooney, Columbus Watterson, and Akron Hoban leave little room for error. And that’s why it’s been impressive that head coach Dan Boarman has taken the Fighting Irish to the playoffs two out of the three seasons he’s been at the helm.
With a good mix of returning linemen on both sides of the ball, the team’s fate could rest on how the players come together as a team – particularly on offense. Some healthy competition at the quarterback spot between Hildebrandt and Besser will likely drive both players to improve.
Another enormous asset comes in the form of Grant. A workhorse, Grant plays cornerback and wide receiver. Did we mention he also returns punts and kickoffs? His list of scholarship offers reads like a Who’s Who of college football.
Scout.com lists Grant as the No. 2 cornerback in the country.
“Doran Grant made his name freshman year as a state qualifier for track and since then he has never had to look back<’ ScoutingOhio.com’s Mark Porter said. “He has been known as a ‘speed guy’ by most, but Grant’s skills on the field are catching up with his immense talent. Grant has the size and speed to be an elite cover corner in college football. Doran is being recruited as a speed guy and will not disappoint coaches when he gets on campus next fall.”
Grant will offer leadership for both the offense and the defense.
Murphy is an Indiana recruit who rushed for 887 yards and nine TDs last year. He also registered 74 tackles and three intercpetions on defense.
“I like the looks of our team,” Boarman says. “I think the key is how we grow offensively. The biggest problem we had last year was turnovers. We have to eliminate the turnovers to be a better football team.”
* Schedule – SVSM’s schedule starts off tough, and it keeps getting harder. The Irish open the season against, Watterson – a team they lost to by two touchdowns last fall. The game everyone’s got circled on their calendars, though, comes in Week 8, when the Irish face off against defending D-III state champion Cardinal Mooney (in Youngstown no less!). Don’t forget the season-ending clash with two-time defending D-V state champion Youngstown Ursuline either.
8/27 @ BISHOP WATTERSON (COLUMBUS)
9/3 NORTH (AKRON)
9/10 BUCHTEL (AKRON)
9/17 @ EUCLID (EUCLID)
9/25 ARCHBISHOP HOBAN (AKRON)
10/1 GARFIELD (AKRON)
10/8 WALSH JESUIT (CUYAHOGA FALLS)
10/15 @ CARDINAL MOONEY (YOUNGSTOWN)
10/22 UNIVERSITY SCHOOL (HUNTING VALLEY)
10/28 URSULINE (YOUNGSTOWN)